The number one reason your performance is not improving

Are you are exercising, or are you training?

The vast majority of people trying to get harder, better, faster, stronger spend too much time at 75-85% of max effort.

Improving performance requires, in essence, two main physical elements.

  • Overload – pushing ones self to/past the absolute limit of their abilities.
  • Rest/recovery - to allow the body to adapt to the overload stress.

With this in mind, all training session should have a goal, and that goal must be adhered to.

If you’re not knackered by the end of an overload session, you’ve not got the most out of that session.

If it’s a weights session: you should struggle for that last rep

Intervals session: barely make that last interval

Hills: just crest…get the picture?

Remember if you’re not experienced, seek some supervision.


Many people do this very badly, and it is probably the greatest reason most athletes don’t progress.

Why? Ego.

When doing a recovery session, leave it at home.

Recovery doesn’t mean doing nothing, in fact exercise aids recovery significantly.

It helps muscles repair in an ordered fashion, and promotes blood flow allowing the replenishment of depleted bio resources.

This is where a heart rate monitor will help…to slow you down.

Keep that HR in zone 1-2, no higher. Leave your ego at home and enjoy the air.

In reality, most of your “training” should be at this level, with a few overload sessions a week.

With this in mind you can then plan a training regime to get you where you want to go.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to training, there’s nutrition, conditioning, maintenance, cross training and don’t get me started on periodisation, but if you start here you can be confident you’re on the right foot 

And remember, THIS IS FUN.


For more, check out anything written by Joe Friel

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